St. Peter (Apostle). Fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, Peter and his brother Andrew were the first two disciples called by Jesus. Initially called Simon, he received from Jesus the name Peter (Latin petus means rock) as a sign of the founding role he was to play in the construction of the Church.
Until Ascension Peter’s life was closely linked to that of Jesus. He was present at all important events. The embodyment of human strengths and weaknesses, Peter is the example of the struggle of faith and understanding that every disciple faces. Jesus clearly saw his disciples, at the Last Supper He predicted that Peter would deny Him three times (Matthew 26:31, 33, 34, 35). And He did not mistake.
After Crucifixion and Pentecost Peter became the head of the earliest Christian community in Jerusalem. He was imprisoned by Herod, but set free by an angel. In A.D. 44 he left for Rome, where he remained until his death, preaching, drawing together Christ’s disciples and organizing Church of Rome, of which he was the first bishop. He was crucified the same day as St. Paul beheaded; thinking himself unworthy to suffer the same fate as Jesus, he asked to be nailed to the cross upside down.
In fine arts St. Peter is often depicted with keys, cockerel, as the bird which heralded his betrayal of Christ (John 13:38), inverted cross, fishing boat, net, fish, chain, papal tiara. The key has a three-fold symbolic meaning: it indicates ownership and authority; it is a metaphor for a new life, the door to which it can open; and it represents a house. The key as an attribute of St. Peter includes all these meanings and derives from the Christ's words to St. Peter: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:19). Later the key became first a papal (who keep those keys) and then an ecclesiastical symbol.
See: Jacopo Bellini. St. John the Evangelist (left); The Apostle Peter (right).
Hieronymus Bosch Epiphany.
Botticelli Lamentation over the Dead Christ with the Saints Jerome, Paul and Peter.
Jan Brueghel the Elder. Landscape on the Coast, with the Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew.
Caravaggio The Crucifixion of St. Peter.
Cima da Conegliano. Madonna and Child Enthroned with St. Peter, St. Romuald, St. Benedict, and St. Paul.
Cimabue Madonna and Child with the Baptist and St. Peter.
Correggio Apostle Simon.
Francesco del Cossa. St. Peter. Side panel of the Grifoni Polyptych.
Carlo Crivelli. St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Peter, and Mary Magdalene.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. Maestà: St. Peter First Denying Jesus.
El Greco. St. Peter in Tears.
Fra Angelico. Linaiuoli Tabernacle: The Evangelist Mark and the Apostle Peter. Linaiuoli Tabernacle: Peter Preaching with Mark. Ordination of St. Stephen by St. Peter.
Domenico Ghirlandaio The Calling of St. Peter.
Giotto Madonna and Child with St. Nicholas, St. John the Evangelist, St. Peter and St. Benedict.
Francisco de Goya. St. Peter Repentant.
El Greco St. Paul and St. Peter.
Georges de La Tour. St. Peter, The Tears of St. Peter, Tears of St. Peter, Peter Denying Christ.
Filippino Lippi The Liberation of St. Peter from Prison.
Masaccio St. Peter Baptizing the Neophytes, The Crucifixion of St. Peter.
Michelangelo Crucifixion of Saint Peter.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo Angel Rescues St. Peter from Prison.
Pietro Perugino The Delivery of the Keys.
Nicolas Poussin St. Peter and St. James Cure the Lame Man.
Raphael The Fleeing of St. Peter.
Rembrandt. Peter Denying Christ, Peter Denying Christ.
Jusepe de Ribera. The Deliverance of St. Peter, The Deliverence of St. Peter from Prison.
Russian Icon. Apostles Peter and Paul.
Titian Pope Alexander VI Presenting Jacopo Pesaro to Saint Peter.
The Book of Saints: The Lives of the Saints According to the Liturgical Calendar by George Angelini, Victor Hoagland (Editor). Regina Press, Malhame & Company, 1986.
365 Saints: Your Daily Guide to the Wisdom and Wonder of Their Lives by Woodeene Koenig-Brick (Author). Harper SanFrancisco, 1995.
Twelve Who Followed Jesus by Landrum P. Leavell. Broadman Press, 1975.
The Galilean Dialogues: On the Road With the Master and the Twelve by Joe F. Tarpley. Vantage Press, 1994.
Prophets & Apostles of the Last Dispensation by Lawrence R. Flake. Deseret Books, 2001.
Voices from Ancient Bethlehem: A Dialogue With Jesus and the Twelve Apostles by Scribe. Jodere Group, 2003.
Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur (Author). W Publishing Group, 2002.
The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary by Bernard Ruffin. Our Sunday Visitor, 1998.